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Counting calories means you can get away with eating mostly nutrient-deficient meals - think ice cream and potato chips. You’ll still meet your daily calories, but there is no distinction between nutritious food and food that is lacking. When counting macros it is much harder to get away with eating only junk food and still meeting your macro targets.
In essence, macros don’t make you count your calories, they make your calories count for you.
You can adjust your macros based on your personal goals and lifestyle. Whether you want to boost your metabolism, lose inches off your waistline or put some muscle on those bones, our expert and experienced coaches can create a custom plan that works for your body and your goals.
This means that “optimal performance” is individual. So, if optimal performance is individualized, shouldn’t your nutrition be individualized too?
To put it very simply, everybody is different:
There are so many moving parts to take into account. That is why having a coach to manipulate your macros with all of those variables in mind can make all the difference in your progress.
Let’s look at a few examples:
What you view as “optimal performance” will change as different parts of your life take the front seat. There may be times when optimizing athletic performance is your main goal. Later, optimizing nutrition for breastfeeding may be most important. Your nutrition might even change to keep you feeling strong and empowered if you’re getting through a breakup! We all know how that can derail things…
These are just a few examples of when a nutrition program needs to be tailored to your individual needs to be successful. A WAG coach will work with you to get to know exactly what will work and make adjustments along the way to get you closer to your “optimal performance”, no matter what that looks like for you.
Hunger is a natural and important body signal, especially right before a meal. That being said, no one particularly likes being hungry and if you are in a caloric deficit it is important to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to the volume of food you’re eating.
One of the most common mistakes we see when people decide to begin a fat-loss journey is choosing foods that leave them hungry and unsatisfied thus making them more likely to overindulge. Take a moment and think about the food choices you are making.
Eat food that will physically fill up your stomach without taking up all your macros (remember that discussion about soluble fiber?). Here are some awesome high-volume options:
Vegetables: Sweet peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, celery, onions, zucchini, greens, eggplant
Fruit: Berries, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
Lean meat: Chicken, turkey, white fish, lean ground beef
Some examples of high calorie food that you should limit so you don’t go over your macros are french fries, cookies, cake and even some protein bars (get your protein from ‘whole’ sources!). It is difficult to hit your macros if you’re eating mostly calorie dense foods because they’re usually much higher in carbs and fats and lower in protein. This will leave you trying to choke down egg whites with protein shakes all night long.
Here are a few examples of the difference eating for volume can make:
100 grams of brown rice vs. 510 grams of salad with the exact same macros. Both of these plates have 24 grams of carbs!
34 grams of whey protein and 25 grams of Vitargo. 38g Carbs, 2g Fat,31g Protein vs. protein waffles with 150 grams of roasted apples and 100 grams of blackberries.37g Carbs,2g Fat,33g Protein. As you can see, both have listed very similar macros.
Eating high volume food will keep you feeling full, ensuring that you’re getting all of the amazing micronutrients that whole foods have to offer us. If you’re eating whole, healthy foods 90% of the time you have the ability to still enjoy those higher density foods 10% of the time while still hitting your macro targets.
Which diet is the best diet? Wouldn’t life be so much easier if there was a simple, black and white answer to that question?
The best diet is the one that you will actually stick to, consistently. The one that doesn’t break – but in fact can bend and fit your lifestyle no matter how much it changes.
No matter what kind of diet it is, most diets will work...if you actually follow it. The catch is that most diets don’t work forever because they are difficult to follow on a consistent basis. Whether it is a social gathering, a dinner at a friend's house, a restaurant business meeting or a family vacation, a successful program will allow you to apply your knowledge to any circumstance.
At Working Against Gravity, consistency is applied in so many different ways. “Optimal” consistency with your nutrition means hitting your macros very closely every week. Good consistency means continuing to track your macros while traveling even though you can’t be as diligent as you would if you were at home. Maybe “consistency” means simply getting to the gym, eating enough protein or drinking enough water. A WAG coach works with you to define what “consistency” means for your specific goals and lifestyle.
Consistency is important for a few big reasons:
Counting your macros allows you to monitor consistency and results in a clear, measurable way (perfect if you’re the analytical type!).Working with a WAG coach on consistent eating strategies is like having a series of tough decisions around food made easier for you. This will free up energy and space so you can focus on the things that matter most.
Focusing on consistency and effort will increase confidence, make you proud of your work ethic and ultimately yield results. Enjoying the process will make any end result worth it.
If you need more inspiration on how to find consistency in your life, check out our blog article: Consistency Wins The Race!
When it comes down to it, the best diet is one that you can stick to no matter what life throws at you, not just when things are going perfectly. Sure, we can all commit to a diet in the first two weeks when motivation is high, we have tons of time to meal prep, get to the gym and life’s stressors are generally low. But when that big work or school deadline is approaching, your kid is getting sick, now you're sick, now you can’t go to work, the gym...those are times it's important for your diet to bend with you. After all:
A diet that does not bend will eventually break.
This is where flexibility comes into play. Here are some of the other (more fun) common situations when you may want a diet that will work with you, not against you.
WAG teaches you to eat in a way that can be transferable to any situation. Your coach will help you find your own guiding principles to make sure no matter what is happening, you stay on track. When we are inflexible in our diet we can get stuck in an “all-or-nothing” mindset or limit our experiences because we are so focused on staying within a rigid and often restrictive structure.
Just like specific macro targets, flexibility itself is individualized based on your goals, time frame, lifestyle or specific circumstances. That is when clear goal setting and communication with your coach becomes so important.
Here are some examples of scenarios that may require less flexibility:
Here are a few more examples of scenarios that may allow for more flexibility:
Counting macros is the down and dirty, specific numbers. As you study and learn you can slowly put the numbers away and start applying the practical lessons they teach into your everyday life. The numbers (your macros) are always there to come back to when your goals change, you need a refresher or to really dial your nutrition back in.
Our goal isn't necessarily to count everything that goes into your mouth for the rest of your life. That may be what you want to do, but it also may not. The ultimate goal is to learn what your body needs to feel its best. To be able to sustain good habits through the ebbs, flows and ever-changing goals of life. People focus on how to fix things when they are go wrong. Instead,think about what you are doing when things are going right so that you always have those tools when life happens – and life always happens.
When is it important to be extra consistent with your nutrition...or more flexible? Here are a few ways to think about it:
Deciding which category (extra consistent or more flexible) your current situation falls into, helps avoid guilt, stress and erratic eating habits. Accept that being 50% flexible with your diet means you can happily expect to achieve 50% results. When your expectations line up with reality, your self confidence and likelihood of following through with your nutrition plan more strictly later on is higher. It also means you’re not moving backwards, you’re just slowing down.
A WAG coach guides you through the goal setting process, ensuring that your expectations align with the effort you’re willing to put in and that you’re happy and fulfilled. Learning to track your macros with the right expectations is part of what makes working with WAG sustainable throughout your life.
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